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Why a hacker is giving away code that turns cars into self-driving machines

Why a hacker is giving away code that turns cars into self-driving machines

Here is a strategy for start-ups dealing with regulators who might shut down your product: Make it free.

Scrappy self-driving-car start-up Comma.ai released a free software kit this week to help developers learn to build a device that can turn any car into an autonomous vehicle. The year-old company, founded by a well-known hacker and backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors, hopes to accelerate the development of self-driving cars while skirting the ire of Washington.

The move raises questions of how the United States should foster innovation for promising technologies that also carry great risks. Experts say self-driving cars have the potential to dramatically reduce the...

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